Roasted Rabbit With Fava Pesto

Roasted rabbit with fava pesto

The Spruce / Pete Scherer

Prep: 60 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 90 mins
Servings: 2 to 4 servings

If you’re here because you’re an experienced rabbit cook looking for a hot new take on your favorite protein, this recipe is not for you. If, however, you’re feeling a little anxious because you’ve gone out of your way to procure a rabbit, and you’re not sure what to do, then let this recipe hold your hand. By simply roasting the pieces of the whole animal, seasoned only with salt, pepper and a touch of acidity, you will experience the true flavor and texture of the meat itself. All other recipes for rabbit will make more sense to you, and your own culinary imagination will be set to work.

To guarantee success, it’s important to use a good instant-read thermometer so you don’t overcook the meat. And although it’s not difficult to butcher the rabbit, if you’ve never done it before, you may want to watch a video tutorial first.


  • 1 whole rabbit (about 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons neutral frying oil (such as grapeseed)
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 pounds fresh fava beans (in the pod)
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 1 sprig fresh mint
  • 1 sprig fresh oregano
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (the best quality you can find)
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper

Steps to Make It

  1. Butcher the rabbit into six pieces: two front legs, two rear legs and two sections of loin or “saddle.” Set aside, allowing the pieces to come to room temperature.

  2. Preheat the oven to 325 F.

  3. Place the unpeeled garlic cloves in a small oven-safe pan, drizzle them with a little oil and roast them for about 20 minutes or until softened and fragrant.

  4. Shuck the fava beans.

  5. Blanch the shucked favas for about 30 seconds in boiling water and remove them to an ice bath.

  6. Drain the blanched favas and separate the beans from their skins.

  7. Place the herbs, olive oil, lemon juice, and roasted garlic into the bowl of a food processor and pulse to roughly chop.

  8. Add the fava beans to the food processor and pulse until the beans have been chopped into little pieces, but not pureed. Remove the mixture to a bowl, season with salt and pepper and set aside.

  9. In a large (large enough to fit all the rabbit pieces without crowding) oven-safe skillet, such as cast iron, heat the neutral frying oil over medium-high heat.

  10. Season the rabbit pieces with salt and pepper and add them to the skillet. Let them brown undisturbed for two to three minutes, then turn the pieces over and put the pan into the hot oven.

  11. After about 15 minutes, begin to check the temperature of the meat. Check the loin pieces first; they tend to cook through faster. When any individual piece of rabbit registers 160 F on your thermometer, remove that piece to a plate while continuing to roast the other pieces.

  12. When all pieces have reached 160 F, remove them from the pan. Remove the pan from the oven and set the oven to broil.

  13. Place the pan on the stovetop (without the rabbit pieces) over medium heat, add the white wine and reduce by half, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to dislodge any yummy meaty bits.

  14. When the wine has reduced put the rabbit back in the pan and return the pan to the oven, directly under the flame of the broiler, for about one minute or until the surface of the meat is sizzling and kissed with brown.

  15. Remove the rabbit. Plate the pieces on top of a bed of the fava pesto, spoon the pan juices over the top and serve.

Glass Bakeware Warning

Do not use glass bakeware when broiling or when a recipe calls to add liquid to a hot pan, as glass may explode. Even if it states oven-safe or heat resistant, tempered glass products can, and do, break occasionally.